Like a trip to the Louvre or stroll around Montmartre, a hammam expedition should be at the top of every Paris to-do list. With close to 80 hammams scattered throughout the city (with larger concentrations, biensûr, in the North African communities) they play a prominent role in Paris’ cultural tapestry.
For the uninitiated, hammams are public bathhouses where people go to steam, scrub, relax, socialize and rejuvenate. Descended from the Romans and modeled after Turkish baths, they consist of interconnected tiled rooms full of steamy air, streaming faucets and half-naked bodies (they’re traditionally single sex, with special co-ed slots at times).
No two hammams are alike. Choose poorly and you could wind up having one of the most harrowing experiences of your life (believe me!); choose wisely, and you’ll be tempted to swear off sunshine forever.